Bedwetting in Children, When to be Concerned

For some children, bedwetting is a problem as they move into the world of day and nighttime routines. With school starting up again soon and more structured schedules for kids to follow in comparison with their free-range summer days, it’s important that parents stay aware of how to address this issue if their child experiences nightly urination issues. If you’re a parent or guardian of children who experience bedwetting at night or accidents during the day, it’s important to understand that incontinence is normal for some and should typically disappear over time. Although many young people are affected by urinary control loss, this usually disappears naturally as they grow up. Daytime urination can be embarrassing, but nighttime leakage may also cause great distress. Here are some common causes. 


Slower physical development: It is very common for kids between 5-10 years old to have accidents in their sleep because of a small bladder capacity or underdeveloped alarms that signal a full/emptying bladder – but this type of incontinence usually fades away with growth!


Excessive Output of Urine During Sleep: When we sleep, the body produces a hormone called antidiuretic hormone. This is normally how our bodies keep us from producing too much urine during the nighttime and keeps our bladders healthy so that they don’t overflow with liquid or cause wetting accidents. However, if this hormone isn’t producing enough to work properly at night, then it can lead to bladder overfilling which could result in an accident for someone who doesn’t sense their full bladder when sleeping.

Anxiety: Parents should take note of the significant events in their child’s life as they might have a major impact on whether or not their kids are able to control bladder leakage. For example, if your kid is experiencing anger from either parents or unfamiliar social situations like going to school for the first time, then there could be an increased chance that he/she will experience wetting episodes before achieving total bladder control.

Genetics: Research has shown that genetics may play a significant role in this condition as 80% of those with both parents who were bedwetters will also be bedwetting themselves and it’s estimated that other genes are involved but undetermined at the moment. 

Obstructive Sleep Apnea: When you sleep, your muscles relax and air is able to flow freely through the back of your throat. When a person with obstructive sleep apnea sleeps during this time they will often become unable to breathe for short periods in their sleep pattern due to swollen or enlarged tonsils which block off safe passage into the lungs. Other symptoms include snoring, mouth breathing, frequent ear and sinus infections as well as sore throats that can lead someone who may not know about their condition experiencing choking episodes when swallowing foods such as hot soups. 

In some cases though treatment has been shown effective at resolving both these issues by removing any obstruction from parts of the body like an adenoid growths causing improper airflow while sleeping leading to more fully rested nights.


Structural Problems: Rarely, a blocked bladder or urethra may cause the bladder to overfill and leak. Nighttime wetting can be due in part to an inherited gene on human chromosome 13 found by Swedish researchers 1995.

When to seek medical advice 

Wetting the bed is common in young children, yet if it persists past age 7 or starts after a few months of being dry at night you may want to consult your child’s doctor. Bed-wetting can be accompanied by other signs such as painful urination, unusual thirst and pink or red urine. It should also raise some concern when associated with hard stools (constipation), snoring during sleep time due to enlarged tonsils and adenoids blocking airways leading into throat.


What treats or cures incontinence?

Growth and Development

Most urinary incontinence fades away naturally. Here are examples of what can happen over time:

  • Bladder capacity increases.
  • Natural body alarms become activated.
  • An overactive bladder settles down.
  • Production of ADH becomes normal.
  • The child learns to respond to the body’s signal that it is time to void.
  • Stressful events or periods pass.
  • Many children overcome incontinence naturally, without treatment as they grow older. The number of cases of incontinence goes down by 15 percent for each year after the age of 5.

The Michigan Institute of Urology is one of the longest standing and largest sub-specialty Urology practices in the State of Michigan, we are dedicated to providing our patients the most up-to-date, state-of-the-art urologic care. Our specialists have been recruited from the most sophisticated university centers in the United States and are available at all of our 22 office locations. Our administrative staff follows strict guidelines to ensure the most cost-effective medical care is provided. Michigan Institute of Urology, P.C., is compromised of 46 General and Fellowship Trained Urologists with a complement of compassionate, caring Nurse Practitioners, Registered Nurses, Medical Assistants, and Ancillary Personnel.


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